For years, I was under the impression that sharing portfolio work was enough to gain the attention of enough people to build a referable photography business.

I would post headshots and portraits that I felt captured my skill set and that would be more than enough to form a crowd of paying clients.

I was wrong.


Because posting my work in this was was simply making it about me and there was nothing for the audience to relate to other than simply remarking, “oh, that’s a nice picture…

But over the years, and through countless hours creating social posts and blog articles time and time again, I’ve realized this one important fact:

If you want to build a memorable and referable photography business, you want to leverage your content in a way that makes the work about THEM and inspiring them to envision themselves in front of your camera.

Fortunately, there’s a way to achieve this.


NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait hands typing on computer
NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait hands typing on computer

Rather than hope your skills behind the camera are enough for people to sign up for a session, commit to creating consistent social posts and blog articles that resonates with them beyond the photos themselves.

One of the many ways that you can develop a rapport with those you serve is by creating online content that pulls back the curtain on your processes and reveals the experience that you offer clients so they know what to expect when they hire you.

Describe the experience that you offer clients, step-by-step, from beginning to end.

You’re illustrating how you will hold their hands throughout the entire process, from the initial call to the delivery of the images. This is an extremely powerful way to set expectations in their minds and get them interested in more of what you have to say.

When you create this type of content, you’re making it about them, and not about you. This approach will undoubtedly perk up some of your audience’s ears and attract their eyeballs to your feeds.


NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait John DeMato Milan on location
NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait John DeMato Milan on location

Laying out for your audience what they should expect before, during and after their sessions is not just a way to attract their attention and start a conversation with your audience.

It also helps them form an opinion in their minds whether or not you’re the answer to their need for images.

If they like what they see and read, they’ll keep following you online, engaging your content, and eventually, will set up a call to chat. If not, they’ll leave and find another photographer that resonates more with them.

Either way, you win because you’ve never had to take an extra minute out of your day to talk them through the process.

Your content did much of the heavy lifting on your behalf, :)

[Related Reading: Stop Chasing Algorithms And Go Make Some Friends!]


BTS from a photo session
BTS from a photo walk

The following are a couple pieces of the experience that I offer my clients and how I leverage them to create informative and memorable content for those I serve.

While the highlights of your experience might vary from mine, the takeaway I’d like to leave you with is seeing the flexibility with which you have to talk about the elements that comprise the effort you put into your sessions.

Pre-Session Strategy Calls

This is a popular topic for my online content because I’ve come across a ton of clients that have told me that our strategy call was the first time a photographer ever ever wanted to strategize before their session

As a way to help potential clients in my audience realize that I don’t simply show up to a location, pop off a bunch of shutter clicks, and call it a day, I often share stories about how the pre-session call helps to maximize the value of the branded lifestyle portrait sessions.

In my social posts and blog articles, I focus on pointing out instances in these calls that uncovered a slew of interesting wrinkles and nuances in their thought leadership, the way they work, and how they offer value to their clients.
And since every client I serve is different, that means I have a variety of potential pieces of content that stem from each client strategy call.

Strategy calls are all about problem solving and leveraging that information to help enhance the results from our work together.

Again, it’s about THEM, and pulling a variety of instances from your past work and shaping them into a social post or blog article will go a long way to attracting more clients just like them.

The Photography Session

How do you set your client up for success during their time in front of your camera? How do you make them feel as you feverishly snap a million and one shots of them?

What happens if they’re feeling insecure or anxious?

How about if they’ve had a bad day, are bitching about life outside of this session, and then show up at your door with their hair on fire and want to get this session over as soon as possible?

What types of support do you have on hand with you? MUA? Stylist? Emotional support animal?

And how have your past clients reacted to the way you conduct your sessions?

All of these are valid questions that some of my clients might have before they inquire further about my services.

That’s why I answer these questions through my online content and point to specific client session instances as a way to give my audience an opportunity to relate to that person in front of the camera.

Again, it’s about positioning the content in a way that makes it about the audience, :)

Image Review and Selection

“I’m so overwhelmed, how will you help me select the keepers.”
“Ugh, I can’t stand looking at myself!”
“They all look the same! How am I supposed to pick?”

These types of statements have been uttered about a million times to me during an image review session.

And each time I offered a unique way to talk these people off the ledge.

That’s why I share these stories, folks. They’re relationship building gold.


Each of your clients react differently to staring at hundreds of photos of themselves in one sitting. Some are terrified, anxious and extremely self-conscious. Others love every image that was taken of them and don’t want anything deleted.

Regardless of their mindset, meet them where they are.

Give them what they need in terms of image content and the guidance with which to choose the best options.

And stress it in your online content so they know what kind of white-glove treatment they will receive when they decide to work with you.

In addition to sharing stories about the experience you offer your clients, there’s plenty of other topics that you can sink your teeth into when creating memorable and compelling online content.

And we’d like to introduce you to them, :)

Alongside Screw The Metadata co-founder, Maurice Jager, we’ve created a workshop

[Related Reading: Your Social Media Feeds ARE NOT your portfolio!]

Photography Storytelling Strategy 101: Defeat The Blinking Cursor…

I know, we hate that damn thing, too, :)

During this 4-hour workshop, we will share our framework for creating online content that provides your audience a well-rounded perspective on who you are, who you serve and why you do what you do.

You’re not just a person with a camera strapped to your hand; you’re a problem solver whose looking to connect with those you serve on a level that goes beyond the work.

Want to learn more about it? Here you go.